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It’s back! Singapore Airlines restarting A380 flights to London in November

Singapore Airlines is bringing back its Airbus A380s in November, with the two-way quarantine-free London route first to benefit.

In the final few days of March 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak prompted countries around the world to impose strict border restrictions, causing significant travel disruption and leading Singapore Airlines to outline the most significant schedule cuts in its history for the months ahead.

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With passenger volumes practically obliterated, one member of the fleet the airline first withdrew from service was an obvious choice – the airline’s 400-seater Airbus A380s – which bowed out of passenger flights on 31st March 2020.

Parking up its Airbus A380s in March 2020 was an obvious first step for Singapore Airlines as COVID-19 first took hold. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Many of these aircraft were later flown to storage in Alice Springs, Australia, and in November 2020 the airline confirmed it would retire seven of its older A380s.

That will give SIA a future fleet of 12 superjumbos – pioneering jets it first helped to launch back in 2007.

Only this month we’ve seen two of the airline’s older A380s moved to the Changi Exhibition Centre for dismantling, with some parts set to be used in the airline’s forthcoming ‘upcycling’ project.

The A380 is back!

In what will be music to the ears for many Singapore Airlines fans, we now have confirmation that the first of the carrier’s Airbus A380s will return to passenger service from 18th November 2021, starting with flights to and from London Heathrow.

A Singapore Airlines A380 at London Heathrow Airport. (Photo: Heathrow Airport Limited)

The United Kingdom was recently upgraded to Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) status, opening up quarantine-free travel to and from Singapore, and the superjumbo will of course be joining the party on the designated Heathrow – Changi VTL flight – SQ317.

“With the inclusion of the UK in the VTL arrangements, SIA has seen strong passenger demand for services to and from London towards the year-end holiday season.”

Singapore Airlines spokesperson

All Singapore Airlines A380s returning to service are in the latest 471-seat ‘Version 3’ configuration:

  • 6 Suites
  • 78 Business Class
  • 44 Premium Economy Class
  • 343 Economy Class
The latest 2017 cabin products will be back in action from mid-November. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Regional routes first

Singapore Airlines has also reported that its A380s will be deployed on an ad hoc basis on short-haul services for “operational requirements” prior to the London launch, presumably to get the crew up to speed on the superjumbo again after a long break.

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We’d expect to see cities like Bangkok included on the roster for these ‘re-training’ flights.

Unfortunately without quarantine-free two-way travel with neighbouring countries right now, not many of our Singapore-based readers will be able to take advantage of shorter flights like these, but they’ll be fun to see nonetheless.

It’s been a while!

The last passengers to step off a flight operated by one of Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380s disembarked 9V-SKZ, the carrier’s newest superjumbo, shortly after 7am on 31st March 2020, following their journey on SQ317 from London.

That aircraft remains in long-term storage in Australia, having been relocated there on 26th April 2020.

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Back in July we predicted a likely return for SIA’s A380s to the network, after the shrink wrap was peeled off one of the airline’s newest superjumbos in Alice Springs, 9V-SKW, and it was flown home.

A further ‘Version 3’ aircraft with the latest cabin products, 9V-SKY, then followed.

The schedule

From 18th November 2021 the flagship aircraft in the Singapore Airlines fleet will make a return on the London Heathrow route, as shown in the following schedule.

Singapore    London

18th November 2021
to 26th March 2022
Airbus A380s operate on highlighted flights

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ306
A350-900
SIN
01:10
LHR
07:20
SQ308
A350-900
SIN
09:00
LHR
15:20
SQ322
A380
SIN
23:45
LHR
05:55*

* Next day

London    Singapore

19th November 2021
to 26th March 2022
Airbus A380s operate on highlighted flights

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ305
A350-900
LHR
09:10
SIN
06:05*
SQ317
VTL

A380
LHR
10:55
SIN
07:50*
SQ319
A350-900